As integral as Seinfeld’s four core cast members were to the show, Seinfeld would never have become the same phenomenon without its minor characters. The comedy came packed with one-off and recurring guest stars who helped create some of the most memorable moments from the show’s nine-year run.
With that in mind, EW has put together its list of 25 minor and recurring characters that still hold a place in our hearts.
A few caveats: First, no Newman or direct family members (i.e. parents) have been included. Some of the main four characters’ parents, for example, as well as Newman, rank among the best side characters — but the frequency with which some of them appeared throughout its run practically makes them regulars.
Second: We did, however, include imaginary characters or alternative identities. They may not technically “appear” on the show, but some are mentioned just as often, if not more, than a few of the actual characters on this list.
And last but not least: To qualify, a character has to have appeared at least twice throughout the nine seasons of Seinfeld.
Grab a muffin top or Drake’s coffee cake and check out our 25 favorite minor, recurring Seinfeld characters.
Come on, she almost married our main man George. Why is she last? Recent news from Jason Alexander confirmed the cast felt the same way about her as you did. –BB
24. The Drake
Brief but memorable, the ups and downs of the Drake and Drakette’s romance ensured Jerry, Elaine, and Kramer’s mutual friend a spot on the list. –JD
23. Jake Jarmel
You gotta feel for Jake Jarmel. Elaine leaves him at the hospital while she stops off for Jujifruits! When watching this episode, Elaine apologists yell, “The cashier took too long to give them to her!” Just another move that put the nail in the coffin on the final verdict for the gang. –BB
22. Kenny Bania
One of the few characters offering insight into jerry’s life as a comedian, Kenny Bania may be a hack, but he’s a hilarious one to watch. Bania’s incessant need to impress Jerry even led to Jerry taking Bania under his wing, if only to prove how much better of a comedian he was. Unsurprisingly, that plan backfires.–JD
21. Rachel Goldstein
Rachel is, of Jerry’s many girlfriends, one of the women he dated most frequently on the show, but what puts her on this list is a discovery that goes down in Seinfeld history. She walks in on George changing while the gang is at The Hamptons only to discover… shrinkage. “I WAS IN THE POOL!,” George shouts, coining yet another Seinfeld term for the ages. –BB
20. The Van Nostrands
Kramer assumed the identity of both Peter and Martin van Nostrand throughout the series. And while there’s never an exact explanation, their exact relationship (identical twins? a couple who looks suspiciously alike?) has haunted us for years. –JD
You don’t see much of Larry, but when he does pop over to the table, it’s always enjoyable. Usually he’s just shaking his finger at one of the gang (not like Babu), but his presence and interaction with the crew are important: He serves as a foil, showing just how “normal” they are. –BB
18. Lloyd Braun
Why can’t George be more like Lloyd? Well, maybe it was a good thing, as Lloyd memorably suffered a mental breakdown after working on David Dinkins’ mayoral campaign. –JD
17. Sidra Holland
They’re real, and they’re spectacular. Need we say more? –BB
Leslie may not have much going for her, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t important to the show. In addition to helping to popularize “low-talkers,” she also started a fashion craze (that then quickly ended) with the puffy shirt, because who really wants to dress like a pirate? –JD
15. Dr. Wexler
Wexler makes the list only because of his presence for such significant moments. Jerry and Kramer botch his surgery in “The Junior Mint,” and he’s also the doctor who delivers the news that Susan is dead. Later, in the finale, he testifies at trial and shames George for his reaction to the news — Susan’s parents aren’t pleased. –BB
14. Jack Klompus
Jack just can’t let the Seinfeld family be happy. Whether it’s trouble after he gives Jerry a space pen or voting Morty out as president of Del Boca Vista’s board of directors, Klompus is the ever-painful but ever-hilarious thorn in the sides of the Seinfeld clan. –JD
13. Father Curtis
Anti-Dentite Jerry Confides in Father Curtis in “The Yada Yada” when he suspects Tim Whatley (Bryan Cranston) converted to Judaism for the jokes. The best moment from this interaction comes when Jerry enters the room for confession and sits down on the kneeler. –BB
12. Tim Whatley
Dentist to the stars Jim Whatley — another brief partner for Elaine — helped give rise to the popularity of “re-gifting” and gave the later Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston a few terrifically memorable guest turns. –JD
11. Ruthie Cohen
Outside of Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer, the character you see the most on Seinfeld is Monks cashier Ruthie Cohen. Fun fact: She was one of three eponymously named characters to be in multiple episodes — Jerry Seinfeld and Keith Hernandez were the others. –BB
10. Crazy Joe Davola
Blaming Jerry for the ruin of his life, “Crazy” Joe Davola lives up to his nickname, stalking Jerry and doing all he can to make his and Jerry’s friends life hell. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go well for him. –JD
9. Bob Sacamano
Kramer’s friend Bob Sacamano, who sells Russian hats in Battery Park for $40 (among other things), is without a doubt the best character you never get to meet. In his own universe, we imagine he has a Jerry, Elaine and George of his own. Not to be confused the ‘The Bizzaro Jerry.’ –BB
8. George Steinbrenner
We may only ever see the back of George Steinbrenner’s head and his flailing arms, but George’s boss at Yankee Stadium is as captivating as anyone whose face we actually see. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s voiced by co-creator Larry David. –JD
7. Bob and Cedric
Not a fan of these guys? Do you know what you’re talking about? Because, I don’t think you know what you’re talking about. These armoire-thieving street toughs are the unsung stars of “The Soup Nazi,” strong-arming Kramer with thanks to their good taste in furniture. This isn’t the last you see of them, though. They also pop up to bully Kramer some more in “The Sponge” and “The Puerto Rican Day.” –BB
One of Elaine’s most recognizable boyfriends, Patrick Warburton and his signature voice turned in a number of memorable appearances, from his debut as Jerry’s mechanic to a salesman as Jerry attempts to buy a car. –JD
5. Lt. Joe Bookman
He’s a dark horse in this race, but Bookman deserves a spot near the top. The show has had its fair share of impressive speeches, but outside of George’s story in “The Marine Biologist,” Bookman delivers the show’s greatest monologue when he confronts Jerry in his apartment about the stolen copy of “Tropic of Cancer.” –BB
4. Art Vandelay
Perhaps the most well-constructed fictional character on the show, Art Vandelay of Vandelay Industries became an essential presence in George Costanza’s and viewers’ lives. –JD
3. Uncle Leo
HELLOOO. We’d be worried Uncle Leo would corner us on the street if we didn’t give him a high ranking. So let’s take his watch out of the metaphorical trash can and celebrate the uncle we all have. MVP Leo moment: those damn drawn-on eyebrows. –BB
2. Jackie Chiles
The Johnnie Cochran-esque lawyer who needs only one coffee drinker on the jury to ensure his clients walk free, Jackie Chiles offered only a few but some of the most hilarious guest spots in Seinfeld history. –JD
1. J. Peterman
What put Mr. Peterman atop our list isn’t his impeccable style, appreciation for historic desserts, or well-traveled lifestyle. No, what makes him Seinfeld’s best character outside of the Fab Four is that he does all of this living as obliviously as possible. A tip o’ the old Urban Sombrero to this fellow. –BB
Even if you’ve never watched Seinfeld, there’s a good chance one of the many sayings, terms, and lines of dialogue that series is famous for have popped up somewhere in your life. The sitcom gave birth to and/or popularized an endless stream of phrases that have remained culturally relevant even in the years since the show ended.
For example: You likely know a “close talker,” a “low talker,” or a “double dipper.” You’ve probably hoped someone in a public bathroom could “spare a square” for you or been in a relationship with a “bad breaker-upper.” And with all of Seinfeld now on Hulu, you’ll likely rediscover how some of these phrases originated, or realize that another saying or two you’ve heard for years came from Jerry, George, Elaine, or Kramer.
Below, find 15 of the best Seinfeld-isms the show produced, listed in alphabetical order—as well as the episodes that made them so ubiquitous.
•Seinfeld: What to watch (and skip) from each season
•EW’s 15 favorite Seinfeld phrases and sayings
•A megafan’s dreams come true at Hulu’s Seinfeld apartment set
•9 surprising facts you didn’t know about Seinfeld
•What the world was like when Seinfeld premiered on July 5, 1989
•Who said it: Larry David or George Costanza?